Notes on Motherhood

>> Monday, February 1, 2016

I've been so absorbed by my pregnancy, I've neglected to share some stuff I've been feeling lately about the mom I already am. There are days when Ada really wears me down. Don't all kids have those days? And then there are days when I seriously cannot believe this little girl standing before me is mine.

Being a mom to a 4-year-old is, for lack of better words, totally rad and, well, complicated. Though I'm smitten with Baby E and cannot wait to bring her home, I do think the infant stage is one that I don't handle well. Looking back, I get easily overwhelmed. Not being able to completely understand your child's needs for months, years is plain maddening at times. I remember speaking to myself so often when Ada was a baby, pleading with the universe to speed up time.

Now that time has advanced considerably, I'm pinching myself. I have raised this amazing daughter who has her own thoughts, feelings, fears, desires, and goals. How did this happen? She expresses them with such gusto. Whether it's sharing with me that she wants to be a teacher someday. Or giggling that whatever I just missed on Sesame Street was "absolutely hilarious!" There was even one night when she did not enjoy dinner (understatement) and said "Mommy, I like the other things we eat, but I don't think you should ever make that pasta again! It was disgusting!"

I discover new things about her everyday, too. We were reading a book before her nap this afternoon, and all of a sudden, she knows her lowercase letters. I swear she didn't know them last week, and -- BAM -- she was listing them all off like a pro. She gets so bashful when I'm proud of her. And boy do I let her know when I'm proud. When I kiss her 1,000 times in a row, she'll say "Mama! That's just too many kisses! Too many!"

But there's still a bit of baby in there, too. It peeks out at the most tender moments. Ada had a nightmare the other night. In it, we were cooking and she had cranked up the flame on the stove-top but had forgotten a pan with the oil and garlic. (These are all her accounts!) The house was on fire. Everything was burning and burning. She looked up at me, scared, and -- for a moment -- I saw her tiny face as it looked minutes after she was born. Something about her almond-shaped eyes looking up at me transported me back to when she couldn't share these thoughts and fears.

And I felt such sadness. Like I said, I don't think I do/did well with infancy. I wasn't a terribly patient mother. I made all the crying fits about me and how they bothered me or upset my life, etc. Back then, it was easy to forget that on the other side of all that emotion was a living, breathing human with feelings. These days, there's no forgetting it. I pledge patience and understanding continually in the hardest moments. There are plenty of those, too.

That being said, I think I've done a good job as a mother, all things considered. Ada is independent. Despite my own introversion, she loves meeting new people and making friends. She is growing physically, mentally, and emotionally. We see the good in what we do each day. Whether it's her new excitement for family dinners ("Family dinner time?! YAY!") or something less direct, like how she shows such maternal caring for her doll Nora (who she pretends is baby sister).

I enjoy this stage. This snapshot. This ever-fleeting moment. My mind dizzies when I think of everything it took to get us to this point. When I think of all that is ahead. All the mistakes. All the joys. All of . . . life. We're ready for our next stage as a family of four, but I am trying to savor these final months when she's my only.

And with that, nap time is over! I'll be back with more good stuff (including a video -- sorry I missed it last week!) soon.

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